Ipswich’s Jerwood DanceHouse marks its first decade

Published: 23 February 2019
Reporter: Vera Liber

World premières from James Cousins, Russell Maliphant and Botis Seva and celebrations of age, youth and community will be amongst the ten celebratory events marking DanceHouse's tenth anniversary.

DanceEast's Jerwood DanceHouse, the only purpose-built dance facility in the East of England, opened in October 2009 as part of the regenerated Ipswich waterfront. In its first ten years, it has received 550,000 artist, audience and participant visits, presented 246 productions including 101 new commissions and 39 premières and its annual audience has tripled.

DanceEast’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive Brendan Keaney said, "over 15 years ago, my predecessor Assis Carreiro imagined a dance house for Ipswich. She created a very special legacy with the Jerwood DanceHouse and I feel incredibly privileged to be leading this organisation as we reflect on some of our many achievements in this iconic building. Over the year, we will be highlighting ten events that represent the spectrum of work at Jerwood DanceHouse—but don’t forget that whenever you visit us in 2019 you will be in for a treat.”

The celebratory events began on Friday 8 February with the world première of Epilogues, a new programme from James Cousins, winner of the inaugural New Adventures Choreographer Award Showcase in 2012 at the age of 21 and an Associate Artist at DanceEast from 2012 to 2014. Touring the UK until May, Epilogues is a trio of duets where Cousins portrays three different kinds of relationships. He said, “DanceEast has been hugely important to my development as an artist. It's a supportive environment for making new work and enables me to be at my most creative."

On Tuesday 26 February Host asks what older performers can bring to the artform. A day of workshops is led by choreographers including DanceEast Associate Artist Joseph Toonga and discussions and debates with guest speakers including former Dance Umbrella Director Betsy Gregory. The day culminates in performances by EncoreEast, Damn Fine Dance Company, Counterpoint Dance Company, Mosaic Performance Group and Debbie Watkins Jones Dance Company.

On Friday 5 and Saturday 6 April is the world première of Silent Lines from Russell Maliphant Company, now in residence at Jerwood DanceHouse. This new piece draws upon Maliphant’s research and exploration into dance and experiential anatomy using a mix of movement, animated video projection and lighting in collaboration with video artist Panagiotis Tomara, lighting designer Michael Hulls and a group of performers.

On Saturday 20 April is the world première of a new work from the National Youth Dance Company as Guest Artistic Director Botis Seva will work with 38 young dancers. This will be the first time the company has premiered a work outside London.

On Saturday 6 July is House to Home, a one-off event telling the story of the Jerwood DanceHouse and featuring more than 100 local dancers.

Choreographer Didy Veldman said, “DanceEast has played a massive role in developing my career, the support I've received has encouraged me enormously. It’s all about creating the work that you love and are passionate about and receiving support for it—which is what DanceEast and Ipswich have given me.”

The final five celebratory events will be announced in May.